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'Beaker' Hogg thanks BOD as Farrell is clearly threatened by new out-half

The English 10 compared his half-back rival to a misfortunate, squeaky Muppet today. That’s nice of him.

STUART HOGG WAS given his first outing as a number 10 since his schooldays in the Lions’ 64-0 thrashing of a Combined Country selection.

Albeit against limited opposition, his assured display clearly impressed England’s Owen Farrell who was one of just two recognised out-halves selected for the tour.

The Saracens star didn’t quite manage to turn his admiration into heartfelt congratulations to the third man in the shirt, though. Instead, he tweeted:

Still, we can see through Faz’ “banter”. It was a job well done from Hogg who, having got over the nerves of first appearing for the Lions, then had to delve into his memory bank for another run in the pivot position.

“I had mixed feelings when I was selected as out-half.” Hogg told SkySports. “I was a bit nervous before the game but when you’ve got Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Roberts outside you, it makes your job a lot easier.”

The young Scot also saved some thanks for his half-back partner Conor Murray for giving him the service he needed to play the game with the fluidity he needed.

“I’ve not played 10 for a long time but I settled well and enjoyed it.

“As the game went on, I got more and more relaxed. That’s exactly how I want to play I rugby. I want to enjoy it out there.

“Conor Murray, at nine, was outstanding in helping me along all day.”

Coach Rob Howley meanwhile, ensured the praise flowed back to Hogg too. Hailing the manner in which he supplied the centres unsurprisingly ear-marked his ability to play 10, wing, centre as well as fullback as a commodity which would give him plenty more opportunities on this tour.

“We’re delighted with Stuart. He can play at fly-half and he’ll get other opportunities as well.”

“I thought he facilitated our centres and back-line particularly well. He played nice and flat and gave opportunities to Jamie (Roberts), Brian O’Driscoll and the outside backs.

“Stuart has got natural talent. He’s a great footballer, he’s got great feet and hasn’t a bad kicking game either.

While only the second half intensity of the backs could really be faulted or scrutinised, Howley did admit that the continuation of  line-out malfunction continues to be a frustration for forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

“I think Graham is a little frustrated with the line-out,” he said. “The time we have as coaches to concentrate on aspects of our game is very short and has to be concise. That’s only going to get better.”

Time is running out fast, however. Or as Beaker would say: “Mee mee meeme meep mee!”


YouTube credit:  ggrizzo

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Sean Farrell

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